Archive for March, 2005

flags, flags everywhere

is it funny or is it tragic? the coincidence, i mean: a few days back, a friend of mine living in Vienna and the captain of the vienna metroblog, philipp wrote to me (almost simultaneously) about the flag debate going on in vienna and both asked if i would write about it on the istanbul metroblog. to sum it up:
feridun zaimoglu, a turkish author/artist living in germany, wrapped the facade of the art museum kunsthalle in vienna with turkish flags within the scope of an exhibition called “Islam and the West”. He named his installation kanak attack and subtitled it “the third turkish siege”. Mr. Strache of The Freedom Party of Austria immediately took action and declared that he was articulating the thoughts of the Viennese people with his words “Vienna must not become Istanbul” (bonus question: Exactly when and under which circumstances does a city become another city? When is a city’s becoming fulfilled?) Next you see the ad produced for the campaign of Mr. Strache, placed all over the city. He demands the resignation of the director of the museum and declares that he should pay for the installation himself with another genuinely designed slogan: “no taxes for the turkish tent”. local blogs about the debate can be read here and here.

The next day, i wake up to read in a local paper about a campaign urging people to hang turkish flags all over Turkey. Why? Because three days ago during the Newroz (the spring fest) celebrations some people have burnt the Turkish flag. This is an opportunity to signal our love for the country and the national flag, the campaigners say. Most of the people in the neighbourhood have done it, and as the Turkish media reports, now there are turkish flags all over Istanbul. Greetings to Mr. Strache, there are many people thinking along the same lines with you here in Istanbul. Istanbul has become Vienna and it gives me the creeps.

Update: Also check out the latest entry about this on the Vienna metroblog for a witty aspect on the whole thing.

do you know?

after reading this blog you can easily understand which side you are in istanbul. just look at the lcd screens on the busses. if they are red welcome to anatolian side. if they are green, you can rock the city cos’ you are in europe.

this trick is brought to you by plush.
bon appetit ;)

Nationalist reflex against internationalist cultural evolution…

Orhan Pamuk

One of the recent discussion themes of intellectual circles in Istanbul, was the interview given by Orhan Pamuk to the newspaper Tagesanzeiger in Switzerland last month…

Pamuk’s abrupt but volitive invitation to read and discuss the paradigms of a historic taboo with a different point of view, has triggered a loathing and grudge campaign against himself: Apparently, Orhan Pamuk, a worldwide famous and respectable Turkish novelist, has almost been ostracized in his own country, as if he were an ill-intentioned fellow who testifies against the suspected felony of another fellow! This is a pure symptom of the ambivalence of our social memory…

So, if you prefer to emphasize the conspiracy stories and the learned-by-heart discourses of status quo, instead of skeptically facing the historical causality of the politics, then your “reality” is supposed to be derived from only what you perceive and feel at the very moment!

In fact, what matters is the level of your tolerance to the free expression of different thoughts, even if it abruptly dares to criticize the intrinsic nationalist values and social prejudices…

I think, Orhan Pamuk is a volitive novelist who endeavors to literarily define transitional and interactive dynamics of the dialectic coexistence of Turkish culture between the Orient and the West… Just like his literary predecessors Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar and Oguz Atay did years ago…

It is no secret that a “nationalist reflex against cultural globalisation” is implicitly strong among some certain intellectuals with a vintage fear of imperialism… Well, neither fear nor hatred sounds reasonable in the modern times of an extremely dialectic and internationalist struggle against injustices and inequalities created by “neo-con” politics of global capitalism! (just remember the coexistence and the interaction atmosphere of the social forum in Porto Allegre…)

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